Zambian student arrested in Russia on ‘Nazism’ charges for twerking at war memorial
A female student has been arrested in Russia for allegedly “rehabilitating Nazism” by twerking in front of a war memorial.
The 21-year-old — identified by local media as Zambian national Rebecca Ziba was detained after she posted a video of herself on Instagram.
In the footage — posted alongside a joking caption — she can be seen dancing next to a World War II memorial in Khanty-Mansiysk.
Russian investigators have described her actions as “obscene” and “insulting” and have charged her under Part 4 of Art. 354.1 of the Criminal Code, which accuses a person of “rehabilitating nazism”.
The regional Investigative Committee said in a statement that the video of Ziba dancing had been posted on social media “accompanied by an offensive inscription”.
The student faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 3 million roubles (€34,430) if found guilty of “desecrating a symbol of Russian military glory”.
The Memorial of Glory in Khanty-Mansiysk is dedicated to soldiers who died during the “Great Patriotic War” against Nazi Germany.
The Russian Investigative Committee also published a video of Rebecca Ziba sitting in what appears to be an interrogation room, where she confesses and apologizes for her actions.
The legislation was originally introduced into parliament in early May 2009 on the eve of Victory Day, Russia’s main public holiday of the year. It is also a commemorative day for those who perished in the war against the Nazis. Law Against Rehabilitation of Nazism was signed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin in May 2014 after being approved by the parliament in April 2014. It is also known as Yarovaya Law, after a Russian politician (Irina Yarovaya) who was instrumental in passing it.
A number of personalities have been arrested under this law including Russian blogger Vladimir Luzgin and Russian journalist Polina Petruseva among others.
The law is subject to huge criticism both domestically and internationally.